Souths Cares mentee Jayden Simms has earned a space in the sacred place of the South Sydney Rabbitohs' NRL changeroom at the USANA Rabbitohs Centre, thanks to a generous donation made by long-time Rabbitohs supporters John Saunders and Victoria Johnson.
Through John and Victoria's donation to the Rabbitohs Foundation, they had the opportunity to be recognised as donors on a player's locker within the USANA Rabbitohs Centre. John and Victoria decided to selflessly re-gift this opportunity to a participant in Souths Cares programs who had been working hard to achieve their goals and deserved some recognition.
Jayden Simms was a fitting recipient of this honour due to his long-term engagement with multiple Souths Cares mentoring programs, his generosity shown towards others and his commitment to overcoming barriers in achieving his aspirations.
Jayden is a local Bidjigal and Yuin man who has been involved in Souths Cares mentoring programs since 2019. Jayden joined the Deadly Youth Mentoring Program when he was struggling with motivation, confidence and purpose and was at-risk of disengaging from his education.
Working closely with Deadly Youth Mentor Yileen Gordon, Jayden developed his self-confidence and explored his passion for art; which resulted in an opportunity to co-design the Rabbitohs 2021 Indigenous jersey with a group of other students.
As Jayden's confidence grew he embraced opportunities to get out of his comfort zone; attending two of Souths Cares Leadership and Cultural Camps and joining panel discussions at Souths Cares events to share his story and inspire others.
Yileen Gordon, Deadly Youth Mentor explained Jayden's success has come through his own belief and hard work.
Jayden was a great mentee to work with as he wanted to change the narrative of his life and strive for better things. Jayden has met life’s challenges and opportunities with a positive attitude and a warm smile, and I couldn’t be happier to see him thriving
Last week Rabbitohs Foundation Donors John Saunders and Victoria Johnson and Jayden Simms attended a VIP opening of the USANA Rabbitohs Centre, where the locker with Jayden’s name inscribed was unveiled.
The locker will be used by Rabbitohs player Tyrone Munro, another proud Aboriginal young man who like Jayden, is on a path to success having made his NSW Cup debut last weekend.
Jayden stated he was grateful for the experience and the opportunity to have his name on a Rabbitohs player's locker.
“I've been a Rabbitohs supporter all my life and it’s a huge honour to have my name on a locker inside the Rabbitohs change room.
I can’t thank John and Victoria enough for this opportunity and their generosity”, Jayden said.
Jayden recently secured a Traineeship with AMP and will be supported by Souths Cares' Barranggirra program throughout his traineeship and during his transition to fulltime employment.